Shop worker Allyson Jones has told how she came face to face with the big cat dubbed the Beast of Trowbridge.

Sightings of the animal have been flooding into the Wiltshire Times’ newsroom since last week’s story about Marlborough songwriter Mike Booth, who saw a big black cat cross the A361 near Trowbridge in front of him at 11.45pm on May 14.

Miss Jones, 38, a beauty specialist at Superdrug, in Lowbourne, was driving on the B3107 between Bradford on Avon and Holt at 4.45am on her way to work on Thursday, when she saw a big black cat in the path of her car.

She said: “I thought it was going to eat me. It had just jumped out of a hedge and stood in the path of my car staring at me.

“Its eyes were red because of my headlights, which I then turned off because I know that with other animals, like deer, you turn your lights off and they run away. The cat ran away and headed in the direction of Trowbridge.”

The mum-of-two, who lives in Frome, said: “I know what I saw. It was the size of a husky but longer and sleek.”

Jim Holt, 52, from Frampton Court in Trowbridge, said he also saw the beast at 9.20pm on a Monday night a month ago.

He was out with his Yorkshire Terrier Jack and saw a small black and white cat run frightened from some trees near his home.

He said: “This cat ran out of the trees across the road and it was then that I saw this creature just looking out from the trees under the illuminated Gainsborough Rise sign. “It just lay there and stared at Jack. It is definitely a large cat-like creature from what I could tell.”

Rita Fielding, 73, of Avonfield Avenue, Bradford on Avon, spotted a big cat six weeks ago. She said: “It was around 2.30pm and I was walking through fields near the river with my neighbour Gundel Cabell and her dog.

“I looked over and saw a massive black cat in some dead grass by the bank. I turned to tell my neighbour and it had gone by the time I looked back.

“What struck me is that it was so very very black and was much bigger than a dog.”

Pamela Thomson, of Short Street, Chapmanslade, had a close encounter with a big black cat six years ago in Westbury Leigh. She took a photograph of the four-inch paw print it left on her car.

She said: “It had been a very hot summer and one night there was a torrential downpour,” she said. “It was hot and I opened the window just to see this creature, the size of a Labrador, jump on to my car.”

Jim Connor, 73, and his wife Anna, 71, have seen a panther-like creature in Trowbridge and Westbury.

Mrs Connor, of Thornbury Road, Westbury, said she first saw a big cat near the Focus store in Trowbridge one afternoon last year.

“I’ve seen them walking up the drive in the middle of the night without a care in the world,” she said.

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